scary reading illoWith Halloween lurking just around the shadowed bend, we conjured up a list of 13 of 2013's most fright-inducing reads to get you in the spirit. Haunted houses, werewolves, vampires and serial killers—this list has got them all, and more!

shining

THE SHINING GIRLS
By Lauren Beukes

South African novelist Lauren Beukes returns with The Shining Girls, a creepy, supernatural thriller set in Chicago, where a dilapidated House (yes, capital “H”) containing a mysterious portal sends the book’s villain back and forth through time. Throughout the 20th century, he dispatches a series of women in brutal fashion, removing a small item from one victim here, depositing it with another there, then materializing back at the House to review his exploits. (Read the full review.)

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thishouseishauntedTHIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED
By John Boyne

Stroke by stroke, scare by scare, [Boyne's] latest novel deliberately sets out to beat Henry James at the diabolical game he played in the best ghost story of all time, The Turn of the Screw. Boyne’s mimicry and mischievous corruption of both the form and the content of James’s tale are surely the book’s most uncanny elements. All the Jamesian paraphernalia is there: the clueless governess at the remote country estate who narrates the story; her predecessors who meet violent ends; the nervous bystanders who infuriate both the heroine and the reader with their stupendous reserve. (Read the full review.)

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wrath of angelsTHE WRATH OF ANGELS
By John Connolly

John Connolly’s Charlie Parker books push the limits of the whodunit genre. They read like detective novels, but then they step over the line into Stephen King country, where apparitions dance at the periphery of the senses and where evil becomes palpable—and ever so believable. Connolly’s latest, The Wrath of Angels, finds the intrepid P.I. sitting in a bar, listening to a strange tale about a private airplane that went down in the dense woods of northern Maine. (Read the full review.)

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oceanatendoflaneTHE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
By Neil Gaiman


Never before has Gaiman’s fiction felt this personal, this vibrant or this deeply intimate. Gaiman’s hero is an unnamed narrator who returns to his childhood home as an adult and is flooded with memories of a farm at the end of the English country lane where he grew up. We relive those boyhood memories as he does, beginning with an odd tragedy that brought him to the doorstep of the Hempstock family. There he met 11-year-old Lettie, her mother and her ancient grandmother, who claims she was around when the moon was first made. (Read the full review.)

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nos4a2NOS4A2
By Joe Hill


Joe Hill says it took him quite a while to find the spark that would make his riveting new horror novel roar to life. Though he ended up writing the bulk of NOS4A2 in about seven months, getting the book started wasn’t easy. “I struggled with figuring out how I wanted to write a female lead,” Hill says. . . . The novel’s main character, Victoria McQueen, is a tough, wild thing with an unusual talent. When we meet her as a young girl, Vic has just discovered that sometimes, much to her surprise, her beloved Raleigh bicycle takes her to a covered bridge that shouldn’t exist. (Read the full interview with Hill.)

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smallhanddollyTHE SMALL HAND AND DOLLY
By Susan Hill

Hill's allure—whether in these two novellas or in her famous 1987 novel, The Woman in Black, adapted for the London stage in 1989 and playing there ever since—springs from the serene decorum of her prose, which remains mellifluous even at the most catastrophic turn of events. This set of novellas provides another “safe haven” for those fans who prefer to take their horror with a smooth pint of bitter. (Read the full review.)

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doctorsleepDOCTOR SLEEP
By Stephen King


In an author’s note at the end of Doctor Sleep, Stephen King explains how the idea of writing a sequel to The Shining—his third novel, published in 1977—was planted by a fan at a book signing back in 1998. King mulled it over for more than 10 years before sitting down to figure out how 5-year-old Danny Torrance fared after his narrow escape from the horrifyingly haunted Overlook Hotel. As one might suspect, Danny didn’t fare very well. (Read the full review.)

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letolddreamsdieLET THE OLD DREAMS DIE
By John Ajvide Lindqvist


The perilous pleasures and imperiled children that await you in John Lindqvist’s magnificent collection of stories, Let the Old Dreams Die, require constant illumination. The darkness of this writer’s imagination is profound, the terrors manifold and the writing merciless in its reckoning of every human being’s worst fears, groundless hopes and bizarre capacity to love against all mortal odds. It would be tempting to call Lindqvist a philosopher, so relentless are the questions his characters ask about the meaning and the meaninglessness of our existence. (Read the full review.)


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evileyeEVIL EYE
By Joyce Carol Oates


“All love is desperate.” With this phrase, celebrated author Joyce Carol Oates manifests love gone wrong in Evil Eye, four novellas ringing with Gothic horror. Taking a page from du Maurier’s Rebecca, Oates puppeteers her childlike heroines through scenes of despondency set in the twisted, delusional reality that can be love, with the backdrop of oppressive circumstances and possessive men with gnarled secrets. (Read the full review.)


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redmoonRED MOON
By Benjamin Percy


When you talk of talented writers under 40, Benjamin Percy is a name that must come up. His second novel is Red Moon, a fat, multilayered page-turner that has fans of Percy and lycanthropy alike gnashing their teeth in anticipation. Yes, it’s about werewolves, but it is also about coming of age, young love, racism, xenophobia, warfare’s moral complexities and the zeitgeist of 21st-century America. (Read the full review.)

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nightfilmNIGHT FILM
By Marisha Pessl


Scott McGrath is the novel’s central character. Once a prominent investigative journalist, his career has very publicly crashed and burned after he made outrageous accusations and a not-so-veiled threat against the elusive cult filmmaker Stanislas Cordova. When McGrath learns that Cordova’s 24-year-old daughter Ashley has been found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. McGrath sets out to solve the mystery of Ashley’s death, but ends up on a risky and very different sort of journey in pursuit of an entirely different magnitude of truth. (Read the full review.)


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demonologistTHE DEMONOLIGIST
By Andrew Pyper


David Ullman is a prestigious professor specializing in biblical literature and tales of demons, and one of the world’s foremost experts on John Milton’s epic poem of heaven and hell, Paradise Lost. Though religious literature is his specialty, David doesn’t believe a word of it. His interest is unshakably academic, until a woman visits his office with a strange proposition. Just days later, tragedy strikes, and David finds himself battling dark forces and a ticking clock in a desperate effort to get his daughter Tess back. (Read the full review.)


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neverlistTHE NEVER LIST
By Koethi Zan


Sarah and Jennifer believed that to be informed was to be prepared, so they became versed in all of the statistics of threatening situations and created a list of things to never do. They strictly followed the list until one night in college when they got in a car with a stranger—a devastating choice that led to five years of unspeakable torture, as Sarah and Jennifer were held captive with two other girls in an unforgiving cellar. (Read the full review.)


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